Well, what to say about golf when it’s weeks since you’ve even seen a golf course, let alone played on one?  One of the proprietors of this blog is quite keen, insistent almost, that it should mention golf, so I’m getting that out of the way early – just in case things get out of hand later.  And of course, since I’m writing this while waiting anxiously for updates of Spurs v Liverpool on the radio – oh….dear, Liverpool have scored a third;  oh, it’s gone to VAR (very annoying review); and, happy day, it’s been disallowed, lovely VAR (valuable additional review).  God, why on earth do I still bother with football?  Really, I’m not much of a supporter nowadays and I don’t really care – except that I do.  But why?  What a plonker!

WHGC under snow and a golfer reduced to walking and wondering when they’ll be swinging in earnest again…..[Pic by team Spencer, many thanks]

Anyway, earlier this week I read a piece by James Dodson in Global Golf Post and it brought memories swirling back.  Tom Stewart, who wrote A Tribute To Golf and is himself a golfing legend, has decided to sell his gallery in Pinehurst, a treasure trove stuffed full of, well, stuff, most of it sublime.  We went there with a Stewart of our own, Inverness branch, so Tom, a charmer to the very soul of his being, went into overdrive and we swirled away with a purchase or two (I bought a Russian Santa who comes out every Christmas and has just been carefully packed away for another year), our heads full of stories and memories that have lasted a lifetime.

The gang outside the Pine Crest Inn, an unforgettable trip. There’s Mum, Dad, Brid, Margaret, Mo, Gillian, Dai and me. A visit made memorable by Lynne Taylor, Gordon and Jane White and many others.

In the name of research I switched on the telly and looked at the featured groups in the first round of the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines in San Diego.  How lovely to see sunshine and ocean, lots and lots of ocean.  Bliss.  One of the bonuses of no spectators is that you can actually see the golf course properly and the first hole I saw took my breath away – I think it was the 16th on the North Course.  Having led a bit of a sheltered life I’ve never been to Torrey Pines – I knew Tiger had won there umpty-ump times (a far cry from empty-ump, as my smart-aleck computer predicted annoyingly) – and had failed to appreciate just how spectacular it is.  That’s the trouble with watching events swarming with spectators, you see people rather than places.

And it was rather lovely watching the players in the featured groups because they were so diverse, none of your clones with identical swings and no personality – though, on reflection, how many of those do you see?  There was Phil, looking fitter at 50 plus than he’s looked for years; Bubba, who’s another lefty with a method all his own; Jordan Spieth, still struggling with the exalted expectations of a super-charged start to his career; Patrick Reed, a Masters champion with a troubled past but an apparently untroubled conscience; Xander Schauffele, with a name to invite Scrabble envy (pity it’s proper and ineligible) and a swing that’s beyond reproach and more than proper…..

Those of us who aren’t yet scrabbling to keep body and soul together have a lot of time to think in lockdown and I was thinking that watching a load of multi-millionaires playing for more millions in a rather beautiful vacuum was, while delightful to look at, really beyond irrelevant.   There are the lovely stories of players who’ve been struggling for years making that life-changing breakthrough and winning the right tournament at the right time but of course, a few years ago, when prize funds were good but not excessive, one win wouldn’t have made a career.  Slash the purses in half (or three quarters) and the golfers would still be golfing and making a good living but would the money be going to a better cause….?

It took a while, what with the pandemic, lockdowns, quarantines and so on but at last the Association of Golf Writers caught up with Shane Lowry, still the reigning Open champion, to present him with the AGW Trophy that he won in 2019, the year of his magnificent, memorable, majestic, indescribably brilliant victory at Royal Portrush, not that I’m biased or voted for him multiple times or anything like that….The AGW’s David Facey (his photo has not been used, partly to protect his integrity but mainly because we can’t afford his image rights…) handed over the silverware at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic this week.  Shane noticed that Rory has won it three times so far and Padraig twice, so he’s keen to win it again.  Being a member of a winning Ryder Cup team might work – but if Padraig’s the captain, he’ll get to lift the trophy…..

Shane Lowry checking out the names on the AGW trophy: his is there along with Max Faulkner, Joe Carr, Harry Bradshaw, Michael Bonallack, Tony Jacklin, Christy O’Connor Senior, Frances Stephens, Ronnie Shade, Tony Jacklin, Seve Ballesteros, Peter McEvoy, Laura Davies, Alison Nicholas, Annika Sorenstam, Padraig Harrington, Graeme McDowell, Rory McIlroy, Francesco Molinari, to name just a few. It’s a little bit of history [Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images]

Oh……..dear…….Spurs lost 3-1 at (an empty) home to Liverpool, so we’ve only flattered to deceive yet again.  Lacklustre apparently….But, of course, I don’t really care any more…..I’m just STOMPING AROUND SHOUTING AND SULKING AND HAVING A TANTRUM for no reason at all…….

Oh well…..best to finish on a high note, so here’s another stunning McKenna special.  Take flight everybody.